"[Victor Wembanyama's] skill level is VASTLY advanced to where LeBron's was at the same age."
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) October 25, 2023
Wembanyama played at an incredibly high level for the Spurs during preseason. He scored 15-plus points in all four of the Spurs’ preseason games that he played. The big man also wreaked havoc on the defensive end of the floor, seeing as how he blocked two or more shots in three of those games.
Arguably Wembanyama’s best performance during preseason came against Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors back on Oct. 20. The 19-year-old totaled 19 points, four rebounds, five blocks and one steal and one assist in just 21 minutes of playing time. Plus, he converted eight of his 19 field-goal attempts and two 3-pointers.
San Antonio went on to win that game by a final score of 122-117 thanks largely to Wembanyama’s two-way contributions.
James, meanwhile, turned 19 in December of his rookie season, the 2003-04 season. He averaged 20.9 points, 5.9 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game across 79 appearances during the regular season. James was also awarded the Rookie of the Year award.
Despite having a player of James’ caliber, the 2003-04 iteration of the Cavaliers didn’t win a whole lot of games during the regular season. They ended up with a subpar 35-47 record and missed out on the playoffs.
But it wasn’t James’ fault that the Cavaliers failed to make the playoffs. The forward simply didn’t have a lot of help, as arguably the team’s second-best player was a young Carlos Boozer, who was in just his second season in the pros. Boozer averaged 15.5 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game in 75 games played.
Windhorst perhaps should have at least waited until Wembanyama played in a regular-season game to proclaim that he’s more skilled than James was at 19.
After all, the regular season is a different animal compared to preseason, as there is a lot more at stake.